Helping Wildlife in Autumn, Leave the Leaves :)

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autumn-leaves

Below is a compilation of information about how to help our local wildlife in Autumn.

From Gardeners’ World Website:

Leaves

Remove leaves from paths or lawns but transfer them to a corner or beneath a hedge, where hedgehogs and other animals can crawl for shelter.

Ponds

Male frogs often spend winter in the muddy depths of ponds, breathing through their skin. But if the pond freezes over, gases caused by decaying plant material can get trapped and poison them. Remove debris from ponds now, and float a tennis or golf ball on the surface to prevent ice from sealing it.

Twigs

Put bundles of twigs at the back of borders, or in a plant pot on its side, where invertebrates and small mammals can shelter.

Borders

Leave herbaceous borders intact in winter so decaying plants can act as a ‘winter duvet’ for small mammals and insects. Clumps of ornamental grasses may offer the perfect hibernaculum for a hedgehog, while hollow plant stems and seedheads provide nooks and crannies for invertebrates. Seedheads are also a source of oil-rich food for birds which may visit to feed.

Plant pots

Leave stacks of plant pots in a sheltered spot to offer shelter for bees and other insects needing a cool, dry place.

Compost heaps

A variety of species, including hedgehogs and queen bumblebees, find compost heaps the perfect place to hibernate. if your heap is in a plastic bin with a lid, this will keep it dry, but be sure to provide access for hibernators at the base by standing the bin on bricks. If you have an open bin, cover it with a thick piece of old carpet to keep it dry and insulated. Avoid disturbing the bin between autumn and April, when all species will have finished their long snooze.

From House Beautiful Website:

Ivy

One of the best plants for your garden wildlife is ivy, especially in autumn and winter. Many flowering plants will start to die during the colder season, whereas ivy flowers are only starting to flourish. These prove to be an important source of food for bees, butterflies and other pollinators when other nectar-bearing plants are dying off.The evergreen nature of ivy is perfect for sheltering birds and insects while other trees lose all their leaves. If that wasn’t enough, ivy also produces winter berries that are a wonderful food source for birds, who use their energy to control their own body temperature.

Nurturing garden ivy is probably the most important piece of advice for helping nature survive this autumn and winter.

Bird Food

It’s important to keep their food and water sources topped up in your garden. As soon as the temperatures drop and the natural berries disappear, birds will appreciate your offering – they rely on high-energy, high-fat winter food to fuel them through the colder months.

 

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Big Butterfly Count and Busy Weekend for Orchard Park Wildlife Project

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OPWP has a busy weekend coming up. We’ll be at the Orchard Park Summer Fiesta tomorrow, Saturday 16th July 2016 from 2.00pm – 5.00pm at the Sports Ground, come along and say hello. There’ll be another opportunity to play wildlife bingo – look for our local wildlife and let us know what you see – for your chance to win a filled bird seed feeder. Bring a print out of the wildlife bingo card if you can, if not, we’ll have a limited number of printed cards. You can also make a recycled plant pot and plant some wild flower seeds, as well as decorating dishes for birds and bees to drink from, or do some wildlife colouring.

On Sunday 17th July we’ll be at the first ever Wild South Cambs Zone at Milton Country Park’s Parklife. Don’t forget today is the final chance for you to enter the Wild South Cambs Young Photographer of the Year Competition. Click here for ideas on photographing Orchard Park’s wildlife. As well as wildlife activities for children, we’ll be promoting Butterfly Conservation‘s Big Butterfly Count on Sunday – everyone who takes part will be in with a chance of winning a butterfly feeder. You can download the app for android here, or iOS here. We will also have a limited number of spotter sheets printed out for you to use if you don’t have access to the app and/or a computer. The Big Butterfly Count is a nationwide survey aimed at helping Butterfly Conservation assess the health of our environment. Simply count butterflies for 15 minutes during bright (preferably sunny) weather – let’s hope the sun shines at the Country Park on Sunday. Click here to watch a video about the Big Butterfly Count.

On Sunday evening we’re having our second Orchard Park Summer Safari. You’ll be surprised to see what lives here if you look. Meet at the Travelodge Hotel, Chieftain Way, CB4 2WR at 7.30pm.

If you can’t make any of the events, you can still join in and have a wild time by taking part in the Big Butterfly Count –  just do your 15 minute count on a day you choose from today (15th July) to 7th August – do let us know what you see, we look forward to hearing from you 🙂

#DoSomethingGreat with ideas from BBC’s Springwatch

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#DoSomethingGreat Bags of litter, bicycle tires, and ironing board after our Wildlife Area tidy last year. Just one of the great things you can do to help wildlife.

Alongside the Wildlife Trust’s 30 Day Wild initiative, BBC’s Springwatch has their own #DoSomethingGreat campaign. Why not have a look at some of their activities, many of which are free and can be done with stuff you’ll have around the home. There are lots of great ideas to keep the kids occupied in the upcoming summer holiday season.

Orchard Park Wildlife Project has bat detecting coming up on Friday 24th June, (due to poor weather on the 24th, this has now been rescheduled for Friday 1st July – meet at the Wildlife Area, end of Ring Fort Road, CB4 (opposite Premier Inn) at 8.30pm) and our Summer Safari on Sunday 17th July (more about this soon) – you can learn how to #DoSomethingGreat for our local wildlife if you come along to these events 🙂

From the Springwatch website:

This spring the BBC wants volunteers to join its Do Something Great campaign. Here at Springwatch, we want YOU to go out there and help nature and our wonderful wildlife! From litter picking and beach cleans to planting trees and restoring reed beds, there’s something for everyone. Take a look at the events listed below to find one near you, and tell us all about it! Use #Springwatch and #DoSomethingGreat on Facebook and Twitter. And we want to see your volunteering photos and videos, we’ll be sharing ours! It’s never been easer to get out there and Do Something Great!

 

30 Days Wild Starts Today

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30 Days Wild Poster from the Wildlife Trust, sign up below for your free pack full of activity ideas, stickers, a badge and action cards

 

30 Days Wild is an initiative by the Wildlife Trusts that encourages everyone to do a Random Acts of Wildness every day of June.

From the Wildlife Trust Website:

Feel happier, healthier and more connected to nature by doing something wild every day for thirty days this June. No matter where you live – from an urban jungle to a windswept mountain – wildlife and wild places are all around, waiting to be discovered by you. Sign up to receive your inspirational pack, containing Random Acts of Wildness cards – bitesize bits of wild inspiration, a beautiful badge and funky stickers to accompany a gorgeous wallchart. We don’t want you to give anything up this June. You don’t have to bake, grow a moustache or dress in funny clothes (although you can if you want, of course). We just want you to give yourself time in the wild: time for you, time your family, time to reconnect with nature.

Share your Random Acts of Wildness on Facebook and Twitter using the Wildlife Trust’s #StayWild and our #OPwild. We look forward to hearing what you’ve done. We’ll post suggestions for Random Acts of Wildness on Facebook and Twitter throughout June.

Here are a few ideas to get you started: create artwork in the wild, have lunch in the wild (ok maybe not on this soggy Wednesday), do a local litter pick, hang bird feeders at work, mark a patch of lawn and let it grow wild. For the 24th June, don’t forget our Bat Detecting Evening in Orchard Park, click the link for more details (due to poor weather on the 24th, this has now been rescheduled for Friday 1st July – meet at the Wildlife Area, end of Ring Fort Road, CB4 (opposite Premier Inn) at 8.30pm).

You can sign up for your free pack from the Wildlife Trusts here

 

 

 

 

 

Autumn Activities for Wild About Gardens Week

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In preparation for our Charity Pot event at Lush on Saturday during Wild About Gardens Week, here is a collection of crafty Autumn and Hedgehog activities. Encouraging children to engage with wildlife through art and crafts can foster a sense of wonder and caring for our wild creatures and their habitats. Most of these activities can be done with things you’ll already have around the home.

Themed crafts and activities:

Hedgehog

http://www.activityvillage.co.uk/search-results?_q=hedgehog

Autumn

http://www.activityvillage.co.uk/autumn

Photography and Hedgehogs (RHS competition)

https://www.facebook.com/rhscommunitygardening/app_308101215921481?ref=page_internal

British Wildlife

http://www.activityvillage.co.uk/british-wildlife

How well do you know our spiny visitors?

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Photo credit: Wild About Gardens Week

We’re now into day two of Wild About Gardens Week (26 October – 1 November) and what a soggy day it is. Still, it might encourage slugs, snails and worms out into our gardens for the hedgehogs, this year’s star of Wild About Gardens Week, so they can have a pre hibernation feast. To see how citizen science is informing us of hedgehog hibernation patterns see: hibernation report

Don’t forget to look in any bonfires you might be lighting for Halloween and Guy Fawkes night to check for wildlife. If you find an animal please make sure you move it a safe distance away.

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Photo credit: British Hedgehog Society on Twitter

Small creatures like piles of wood and leaves for shelter, so why not help them in your garden by providing a pile just for them? Other things we can do as recommended in the Wild About Gardens Week Hedgehog Handbook include:

1. Create ‘hedgehog highways’ in your fences to connect your gardens.

2. Provide an escape route out of ponds – ‘hogs are great swimmers but they struggle to climb out.

3. Create a variety of habitats e.g. ponds, hedges, log piles and compost heaps to attract food for the hedgehog.

4. Build a hedgehog home – give them somewhere to hunker down for the winter.

5. Let your grass grow wild (or even a section of it) to encourage the hedgehog’s prey. Check carefully before mowing or strimming areas.

6. Create nesting opportunities – leave wild areas for ‘hogs to hibernate.

7. Set up a feeding station offering hedgehog food or meaty pet food and water.

8. Tidy up – litter harms wildlife, and hedgehogs can also become entangled in garden netting.

9. Keep domestic drains covered, hedgehogs can fall into them and get stuck.

10. Check bonfires before lighting; ideally rebuild them on the day it is to be lit.

11. Keep your gardens green – paving and decking over gardens reduces hedgehog habitat.

These activities are most beneficial if we work together as a community. For the full text of the Wild About Gardens Hedgehog Handbook go to: Hedgehog Handbook

Orchard Park Wildlife Project will be in Lush, Lion Yard on Saturday 31 October from 12-4pm to give wildlife gardening tips. Come along and make a pledge to help our local wildlife, there’ll be wildlife colouring for children, and find out how to enter a photo competition to win hedgehog prizes – Royal Horticultural Society Hedgehog Photo Comp. Lush are also very kindly fundraising again for Orchard Park Wildlife Project – if you buy their Charity Pot on Saturday, proceeds will go towards equipment for Orchard Park Wildlife Project’s activities. We are very grateful to Lush once again for their generosity.

Wild About Gardens Week – focussing on Hedgehogs

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Gardening for wildlife!

This year’s Wild About Gardens week will run from 26 October – 1 November 2015 and will focus on gardening for hedgehogs. These amazing little creatures could be extinct in the UK if we don’t help – there are thought to be fewer than 1 million hedgehogs in the UK today, and they’ve declined by 30% in just ten years. Our gardens in Orchard Park are great for hedgehogs as many don’t have solid garden fences which block their access – instead our connected gardens can form ‘hedgehog highways’. We can feed hedgehogs, provide a home, and reduce potential dangers to them. If we work together as a community, we can help hedgehogs, and other wildlife in our neighbourhood.

For detailed guidance and fun activities see: Hedgehog Booklet and Wild About Gardens

Lush are very kindly holding another Charity Pot Party fundraiser for Orchard Park Wildlife Project – we will be in the Cambridge store on Saturday 31st October between 12-4pm – we’ll be sharing Wild About Gardens Week’s wildlife advice and asking people to pledge to do something wild in their garden. Come and say hello to us and the lovely folks at Lush 🙂

Big Butterfly Count at the OP Summer Fiesta

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Come along to the Orchard Park Wildlife Project stall at the Summer Fiesta tomorrow to take part in the Big Butterfly Count Citizen Science Project for your chance to win a goldfinch feeder full of nyjer seed ready to hang in your garden, balcony or window frame. The Big Butterfly Count was launched this morning by David Attenborough and Butterfly Conservation. The wildflower bank along Ring Fort Road, the wildflowers near the Orchard alongside the sports ground, or flowering plants at the edge of the Wildlife Area might be good places to do your count.

We have a limited number of printed ID sheets to bring to the event. However, if you could help by printing your own to bring then that would be very much appreciated – just click on the photo above to access the sheet to print. There is also an app which can be downloaded for you to count your sightings and submit your results on the day. If you don’t have access to a computer or smartphone use one of our printed sheets, record your location, and hand the form back to me to submit your results.

Once you’ve completed your count we will give you a ticket which will be entered into a draw for your chance to win a goldfinch feeder – we have two to give away.

All necessary information for the count along with other fun ideas for engaging with butterflies can be found at http://www.bigbutterflycount.org/

We’ll also have some butterfly colouring sheets and dishes to decorate so you can put water or food out for the birds.

For other species we’ve got leaflets with ideas to be more wildlife friendly, and information on our Orchard Park Summer Safari event next Tuesday evening 21st July. I’m delighted we saw bats so close last night at the Wildlife Area and hoping they will show again on Tuesday.

Let the sun shine and see you tomorrow 🙂

Making Mini Meadows 19th April 11.00-12.30

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Join us on 19th April to help plant mini meadows around Orchard Park, and be part of the national Grow Wild campaign.

You’ll be joining the UK’s biggest ever wild flower campaign, helping to create over one million square metres of colour in summer 2015.

Supported by the Big Lottery Fund and led by Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew; Grow Wild inspires communities, friends, neighbours and individuals across the UK to come together to transform local spaces, by sowing, growing and enjoying native wild flowers.

Sign up for the Grow Wild e-newsletter and social media at growwilduk.com 

Keep an eye on the blog for details of where to meet.

For more information about wildflower meadows, and a booklet about creating meadows in your garden see:

http://publications.naturalengland.org.uk/file/98029